ELF: Barcelona Dragons go from afterthought to contenders

Following their third straight win, a 34-32 thrilling victory over the Cologne Centurions this past weekend, the Barcelona Dragons have made football observers sit up and take notice.

Just one year ago, Spain’s lone European League of Football franchise drew an onslaught of skepticism. Many fans and coaches around the world doubted the ability of Spanish players to be able to compete with the likes of established German powerhouse programs in Europe’s top league.

In their first ELF season, the Barcelona Dragons took some bad losses early on, yet were showing improvement week by week. The resilient squad closed out the 2021 season with a 3-7 record, however, there was a silver lining as Barcelona defeated the Berlin Thunder, and Stuttgart Surge along with playing tough against the future ELF champion Frankfurt Galaxy and runner ups Hamburg Sea Devils during the final stretch of the season.

Fast forward to 2022, expectations on the Spanish coast were still low, especially after the Dragon’s best player Jean Constant chose to sign with Hamburg over returning for season two. Head Coach Adam Rita also moved on as well as talented linebacker Myke Tavarres

However, quarterback Zach Edwards stayed. The electrifying dual-threat quarterback came back with a vengeance as he and a reinforced core of Spain’s best players have shown that they are not to be overlooked. Simultaneously, Edwards launched himself into the MVP race, becoming the league’s most exciting quarterback through three weeks.

The 3-0 Dragons squad was able to pull some of Spain’s best players to Barcelona this season such along with adding sure handed receiver Kyle Sweet (Washington State) and of course the former SEC defensive player of the year Michael Sam. Edwards and the new class of international players have meshed well with a much-improved group of domestic players. Barcelona’s quarterback commented on the Dragons title chances in last weeks post game press conference:

“We control our own destiny, we control everything we put our minds too. We are a great team and are definitely capable of winning an ELF championship. That’s our goal, that’s what we work towards everyday in practice. We think we can take it all”

Photo Barcelona Dragons

While the imports have helped, head coach Andrew Weidinger has been able to get his team of Spaniards and internationals to play an exciting brand of football, injecting adrenaline into the Spanish American football scene. Homegrown players such as Alejandro Fernandez, Mario Flores, Adrian Jimenez, and more have shown that Spanish players can line up against the rest of Europe and compete at a high level. With the help of a large and rowdy group of fans, Barcelona looks to take advantage of their ruckus environment and talented team to make a deep post-season run. 

The Dragons will be matched up against another undefeated squad this Sunday, June 26, as they take on the 3-0 Rhein Fire coached by former San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Tomsula.

Alex is a former professional American football player who is now studying in London. His goal writing for AFI is to stay involved with the game that has given him so much. Alex enjoys covering leagues and players and sharing different football